Perhaps best approach to making a buck in the pain in the ass music business is an honest admission that the music business is in fact a pain in the ass. It’s certainly not a business slam dunk, and the wreckage of formerly starry-eyed musicians that now litter the music highway proves that “success” can be a cruel mistress. Especially in a world where people want your art for free.
Hats off to the bands that are out there in the field, the musicians that are writing, recording, and touring in addition to holding down full-time jobs, while researching the best approach to get their art into the hands of the people.
For many musicians, the main reason they write and record is so that their product gets heard, and the community they exist in is the place they know they need to be.
San Diego-based rock band Abner exists in that community, a place where, despite economic uncertainty and without a guarantee of success, the discourse remains music and the approach is backed by a strong work ethic.
Abner will be in Durango Friday Oct. 20 at The Balcony Backstage, playing with Versa Vice.
“The most challenging thing about playing in a band is trying to decide what the wisest thing to do next is. All of the other things that go into a band often have folks – from social media marketing, talent booking, to media and logo design. When you’re independent, all of those things are up to you,” said guitar player and vocalist Adam Baez. “But within that is a lifestyle that is hard to quit. The subculture with the kind people who put you up in their houses and feed you the food out of their fridge that makes you feel a sense of well-being. It’s foolish to say that I know the answer to musical success. But as time goes on, I realize that the ride is the most enjoyable thing and the family I have through music is where I belong.”
Abner came together via audio production classes at Mira Costa College outside San Diego; Baez had some songs that he shared with drummer Kyle Hansen, and Ian Blaemire was recruited soon after.
Their approach for writing and releasing tunes takes advantage of the notion that consumers digest singles, knowing that many casual music buyers usually purchase an album for only one or two songs; it’s a streamlined, trim-the-fat approach. “Beads of Fire” is their latest effort, a rock song heavy on guitar riffs, a harder single that also explores crafted melody. Abner is a band that gives a slight nod to darker rock music but also, at times, digs into a jagged, stabbing and angular guitar sound
The single approach is just another avenue to make sense of a changing business model.
“Unfortunately, the business of music is just that – it’s business, an open market where everyone in this country has the right to put themselves on with the hopes and opportunity of creating a niche that acquires demand,” said Baez. “With that being said, it is easy to blame society for not creating a demand. I take it as a challenge to keep writing songs and doing everything I can to give folks a place to jam and relate. In five years, we hope to, at the very least, be having as much fun as we are now. This is a lifestyle choice that is meant to be embraced. I see a future of success in that.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. firstname.lastname@example.org.